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How BFR helps after surgery and for recovery

The applications of BFR extend well beyond performance enhancement. BFR’s unique ability to enhance muscle physiology through hormonal manipulation makes it a perfect tool for persons rehabilitating post-surgery or injury.

Some patients are severely limited for several weeks due to restricted movement or being unable to bear weight, which rapidly leads to muscle wastage and strength losses. Astonishingly, by using BFR at this early recovery stage, strength and muscle masses losses can be minimized even though the muscles are inactive.

As the patient begins to bear weight, traditional early phase strengthening programs often plateau due to an inability to progress weighted loads. By using BFR, you can exercise at very low intensities while creating similar effects to high load weight lifting, without stressing the healing structures. The body creates an environment where muscular hypertrophy pathways are activated, stimulated by BFR, accelerating recovery throughout all stages of rehab as described below:


If you are injured or have recently undergone surgery, please consult your GP or physical therapist before performing BFR.

How BFR works for active recovery

Due to the localised pooling of blood  and systemic full-body effects of BFR exercise, injury-prone areas such as knees or elbows can be worked easily with light loads promoting  the uptake of nutrient-rich blood  to the muscles for recovery. Once the straps are removed,  blood floods  the entire body  with growth factors, effectively promoting recovery  in all structural tissues.

- Maintain muscle and strength

Sit reclined with legs slightly out in front.

Apply the BFR strap for 5 minutes, and release for 3 minutes.

Repeat 5 times in the morning, and 5 times in the evening.

Evidence shows that this may reduce the atrophy seen while non weight bearing and may help to maintain muscle function.

- Begin to increase muscle mass and strength

Low intensity walking or cycling with BFR applied.

Slow walking (~50 m/min) for 20 mins OR
Low intensity cycling (~40% of max aerobic capacity) for 20 mins.

- Stimulate significant improvements in muscle mass and strength

Using targeted exercises to work a desired muscle, e.g. rehabilitating a knee injury, use split squats, or leg press, or leg extensions to rebuild leg mass.

Perform sets of low load resistance exercise with a goal number of repetitions (30 reps for the first set, followed by 3 sets of 15 OR task failure, whichever comes first).

30 seconds of rest between each set.

Load around 20-30% of 1RM (one rep maximum) and use the repetitions as a guide for load progression.

If you can execute all 75 repetitions (30-15-15-15) with proper form, then increase the load slightly.